It took a lot of effort: late night studies, hours spent writing, and a last minute scramble to sew up the hole I burned in my gown, but I finally did it. I crossed the stage and graduated from college.
Many of my Blessed is She sisters just completed the same accomplishment. Congrats, ladies! I want to write to you—all of my sisters in the middle of this new adventure—because with all the change, it can be difficult to hear God’s voice. I know it was for me when I graduated a year and a half ago.
A Major Life Change
It was a big change for me to go from being heavily involved in my Catholic campus center to working every weekday from 9-5. During college, I would frequent daily Mass, lead a women’s Bible study, and have almost daily conversations with the chaplain of the center.
When I started working full time, attending daily Mass was much more difficult and my habits of prayer were thrown off kilter. I was also the only woman at my job, so female fellowship took a nosedive.
All theses changes discouraged me because I no longer met the standards I had set for myself. For months I wallowed in desolation. But I eventually came to realize that different states in life require different responses to the Lord. This was humbling, but also relieving. I knew in my head that my spiritual life would change, but I struggled to accept it or give myself permission to change. I was attached to the image of who I wanted to be instead of allowing God to mold me. But, lo and behold, my life is much better than the image I concocted in my head.Different states in life require different responses to the Lord. #BISblog // Click To Tweet
How to Stay Centered on Christ During the Post-College Transition
So how can we stay centered in our spiritual life, while allowing God to take us in new directions? I suggest we focus on a few key areas of our faith life and give ourselves flexibility within those areas to adapt them to our needs, personality, and state in life. Below are my practical suggestions for three key areas:
How are you going to continue to learn about the Faith? What resources are available to you?
It might be time to get creative. During college, my formation came from the Catholic center’s events.
Once I graduated, I got into a medium of formation I never used before: podcasts. Podcasts are super accessible for nearly everyone, no matter your job or state in life. If you need somewhere to start, try these awesome Catholic podcasts.
If podcasts aren’t your cup of tea, seek something else. Look for opportunities at your parish, read a book on a Catholic subject you are interested in, or teach catechism in your parish youth program. I guarantee you’ll learn more about our Faith as you try to teach it!
How have the dynamics of old relationships changed? What new relationships have been placed in your life? What relationships are worth fostering?
This is one of the hardest aspects of any transition. We’ve come to love and trust the people around us, and suddenly we struggle to keep in contact. We have to fight against feelings of missing out when our friends get together without us or when we see a close friend grow in intimacy with someone else.
Even though I did not move away from my college town, I experienced these things. I still struggle with them. However, I have also experienced the good in these relationship changes.
I committed to a new tradition with an old friend. Our goal was always to get together once a week, but at times it was difficult. We finally settled on Wednesday dinners, which depending on my schedule, were sometimes only 30 minutes long. Even though they were short, it was nice to be able to count on seeing her. I believe this worked for us because it was realistic and consistent.
What is something realistic for your relationships? Once a week phone calls or coffee dates? Handwritten letters every couple of weeks? A daily SnapChat? Obviously a coffee date is more intimate than SnapChat, but start somewhere and work toward finding what works.
A Word of Caution
Don’t become so caught up in trying to maintain old relationships that you miss what is in front of you now. By all means, foster old relationships. But also be grateful for new coworkers, new prayer group members, and new neighbors.
I am so thankful that I have met new people from work and parish activities. These people have loved me, been examples for me, taught me new things, and challenged my way of thinking.
3. Daily Prayer
How has this transition affected your prayer life?
Working 9-5 left my evenings free, but also left me with less energy. I established a nightly prayer routine during college, but once I started working, my prayer suffered.
I threw a nice pity party about this. I complained that my prayer life wasn’t good anymore. I complained that I didn’t know what God wanted and that I didn’t have any peace.
After listening to this for several months, my boyfriend took some action. He took my phone and set a daily alarm to pray at 6:30 in the morning.
It was just the kick in the butt that I needed. That boyfriend, who is now my fiancé, was surprised when I told him a month later that I was still praying at that time. Now I look forward to my morning prayer time. It works much better for me and starts my day off right.
So, what will work for your state in life? Do you need to open yourself up to a new prayer time or type?
The Lord is Patient With You; Be Patient With You, Too
Most importantly, sisters, simply be patient. During this time of transition, don’t cling to an image of what a Catholic woman’s life “should” look like. Be the Catholic woman God made you to be.
Are you a new college grad? How are you feeling about the transition? How can we pray for you?Being Rooted in the Faith During the Post-College Transition #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Abbey Davies is one of few women working in the wastewater industry. By day, she researches and bids for wastewater treatment plant contracts all over the midwest (while enjoying the many jokes about her job). By night, she teaches a Confirmation Prep class, swing dances with her fiancé, and occasionally makes an edible dinner.